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An Alternative to Italy‘s Tourist-Trodden Paths – 8 of Calabria‘s Best Resorts

Tropea beach
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Tropea beach

The region of Calabria is one of Italy’s pearls that tourists often miss, and, in fact, the cities, mountains and historical heritage of the northern part are far superior to those of the south – even there, people mostly talk about Sicilian and Sardinian islands, beaches and natural wonders. Despite that, however, Calabria, located at the very tip of the Italian “boot”, has much to surprise travellers with. Just choose one of these 8 resorts and you’ll see a completely different Italy.

1) Pisa

Pizzo town in Italy
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Pizzo town in Italy

This small town, located on top of a hill, delights tourists not just with its natural landscape and architecture, but also with a unique local dessert – in this little town, home to less than 10,000 people, you’ll get a chance to try some unique, chocolate-glazed ice cream.

Pisa is situated on the colourful shores of the St. Euphemia Bay. Since many of the town’s inhabitants are professional fishermen, the coastline is filled with cutters and small boats. The town is home to the famous 1st-century castle where the king of Naples – Napoleon Bonaparte’s brother-in-law – Joachim Murat was shot. We recommend you also visit the Baroque Church of St. John. The small cave temple, called Piedigrotta, is arguably Pisa’s most spectacular architectural monument.

2) Briatico

Beautiful colorful boats in harbor, Briatico, Calabria
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Beautiful colorful boats in harbor, Briatico, Calabria

This former fishing village, now coastal resort, is just 16 km from Pisa. Since it’s located on a picturesque cape high above sea level, it opens up on a fantastic panorama of the Tyrrhenian coastline. The locals love its long beach, characterised by excellent sand and warm, clean waters. During summer, morning to noon, Briatico is filled with vacationing locals, music and the sounds of children playing.

3) Zambrone

Zambrone, a small town near the sea
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Zambrone, a small town near the sea

This small town is worth visiting for its amazingly clear sea water and white sandy coastline, which reminds one of the tropics, rather than Europe. Just don’t expect any privacy here, though – the beach is fairly small. On the other hand, if you find a way through the cliffs or go canoeing, you’re sure to find a secluded place where you’ll be able to enjoy complete silence. Furthermore, moving among the cliffs you’ll see some truly spectacular views of the local coastline. From here you can also see the Stromboli Island, which you can reach by yacht.

4) Parghelia

Beach in Tropea, Calabria
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Beach in Tropea, Calabria

Parghelia – a true gem of the Coast of the Gods – attracts with its recreation-apt beaches and granite cliffs that jut out of the sea, which are surely to be appreciated by diving enthusiasts. Since the town is not a mass tourist centre, one can quietly rest on its sandy beaches.

5) Tropea

Italy, Calabria, Old town Tropea on the rock
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Italy, Calabria, Old town Tropea on the rock

There’s no question that this little town is one of Calabria’s most popular places people choose to rest by the sea. When it’s warm, the place is packed with tourists. The beach, located at the very centre, is situated near some spectacular slopes. Having enjoyed the sun and the exquisitely clear sea during the day, at night you can dive right into the characteristically Italian hubbub. This coastal resort, located on the Coast of the Gods, will be especially appreciated by those who don’t want to get too far from civilization. Here you’ll find an abundance of restaurants, cafés and local stores. The Italians call Tropea a “romantic’s heaven”. The locals are certain that no matter how many people there are in the town at any given time, one can always find a secluded corner in one of the many local bays, and enjoy some breathtaking views of the Tyrrhnian coastline. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that the most visited place in Tropea is located on the beach – it’s a cliff that protrudes over the sea and has a Virgin Mary Church at the very top. In total, the town has as many as 12 churches.

6) Capo Vaticano

Capo Vaticano is the most beautiful region of Calabria
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Capo Vaticano is the most beautiful region of Calabria

Capo Vaticano, the western coast of Calabria, is known for its long and spectacular white sandy beaches. There’s a reason why they make the top 100 list of the world’s best beaches – the cape is arguably the best place in Calabria to enjoy quiet rest and water entertainment. Diving enthusiasts are sure to find plenty to do here – the water is wonderfully clear, and the fish and cliffs are full of colour.

The highest island of Capo Vaticano reaches 124 metres and has an overview at the top. Hiking across the cliff tops is one of the most captivating activities that lovers of active recreation could possibly desire. It’s an excellent way to get acquainted with the coastline and its flora, and see some spectacular vistas. Spread across the cape you’ll also see a few tiny resort zones.

7) Vibo Marina

Vibo Valentia Port
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Vibo Valentia Port

Vibo Marina, situated between Pisa and Briatico, has a commercial harbour and a yacht pier. It’s a tranquil town, surrounded by mountains, and it's a good place to visit if you want to get away from the busyness of cities or take a long, romantic walk along the coast. The local beach is calm and largely unaffected by mass tourism. Most restaurants here serve fresh fish and traditional Italian dishes.

8) Reggio Calabria

Reggio Calabria
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Reggio Calabria

Reggio Calabria is the oldest and largest city in the region, and second-oldest in the whole of Italy. It’s the country’s main harbour, important for regional economy and trade. If you’re after authentic experiences, you simply have to visit the local market, located in the city’s Old Town whose narrow alley stalls and small shops sell the best-quality hand-made sundries, that you can bring back home as souvenirs.
The Lido Beach is, however, the city’s main tourist attraction. The locals, just like visitors, come here every weekend, and tourists can enjoy the spectacular Sicilian panorama.

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